Amazon Studios has signed up a key bit of talent for their ambitious series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic literature, The Lord of the Rings.
Set to direct the first two episodes of the fantasy series is J.A. Bayona, whose feature film credits include Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, A Monster Calls, The Impossible and The Orphanage. Apart from directing the two episodes, Bayona will also be on board as executive producer alongside his producing partner Belén Atienza.
“J.R.R. Tolkien created one of the most extraordinary and inspiring stories of all time, and as a lifelong fan it is an honor and a joy to join this amazing team,” Bayona said in a statemet. “I can’t wait to take audiences around the world to Middle-earth and have them discover the wonders of the Second Age, with a never before seen story.”
As Bayona said, the series will not be a direct adaptation of Tolkien’s LotR trilogy and will instead by set prior to the events in The Fellowship of the Ring. The show is being written by JD Payne and Patrick McKay, who are reportedly in a writers room that also includes Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones scribes Gennifer Hutchison and Bryan Cogman.
“We are thrilled to have J.A. and Belén joining the fellowship as we continue to develop this epic series,” said Payne and McKay. “We have been great admirers of J.A.’s work for years, and know that his epic, cinematic and deeply heartfelt aesthetic is the perfect sensibility to bring Middle-earth to life anew.”
Amazon is aiming big with this one. The series has a multi-season commitment and the deal made with the Tolkien estate was reportedly in the nine figures.
“The scope and breadth of J.A.’s world-building is exactly the right fit for our ambitions for The Lord of the Rings,” Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, said in her statement.
“He’s a passionate and collaborative director who has brought new stories to life with his multitalented producing partner, Belén. We are all excited for them to join our writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay, and we can’t think of a better way to begin this journey to Middle-earth.”